Wednesday 28 October 2020

The Silence of the girls by Pat Barker

Paperback, 325 pages

Published May 2nd 2019 by Penguin (first published August 30th 2018)

Historical fiction



The ancient world was a brutal world. And Pat Barker writes it so simply and beautifully, with sadness and resilience.

Briseis family was slaughtered. Common women were given for soldier's use, or killed. Noble women were chosen as prizes. She was given to Achilles. This is her book, her point of view. Her seeing the destruction and brutalization of women. She realizing that everyone she loves with die or end up like her. And she is brought to a rapecamp.  We all know how Odysses for example wanted back to his wife, but did he have his own prize. Of course. Because women are commodities. She also ends up being the victim for Achilles hurt pride. Was it her he wanted, no. But she was his and so he sulks.

Men are fools and killers.

It was a good book. The best I have read about the Trojan war. It was another point of view. The victim's view. How can those songs have been thought as glorious when they all jsut bothered each other, threw infants of walls and killed pregnant women cos they could have bearing sons. War is never glorious.

“I thought: Suppose, suppose just once, once, all these centuries, the slippery gods keep their word and Achilles is granted eternal glory in return for his early death under the walls of Troy...? What will they make of us, the people of those unimaginably distant times? One thing I do know: they won't want the brutal reality of conquest and slavery. They won't want to be told about the massacres of men and boys, the enslavement of women and girls. They won't want to know we were living in a rape camp. No, they'll go for something altogether softer. A love story, perhaps? I just hope they manage to work out who the lovers were.

Queen Briseis has been stolen from her conquered homeland and given as a concubine to a foreign warrior. The warrior is Achilles: famed hero, loathed enemy, ruthless butcher, darkly troubled spirit. Briseis's fate is now indivisibly entwined with his.

No one knows it yet, but there are just ten weeks to go until the Fall of Troy, the end of this long and bitter war. This is the start of The Iliad: the most famous war story ever told. The next ten weeks will be a story of male power, male ego, male violence. But what of the women? The thousands of female slaves in the soldiers' camp - in the laundry, at the loom, laying out the dead? Briseis is one of their number - and she will be our witness to history. 


  1. Mel
    It sure was

    It was different, and good

  2. Wow, I don't think I've ever read a historical fiction about The Trojan War. Definitely putting this on my list.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  3. Oh my, what a very unpleasant attitude to women.

  4. Mogsy
    I read one that was awardwinning, but it was blergh, this was better :D

    At least we have evolved a bit

  5. I've read by this author an eon ago...I am intrigued

  6. There isn't too many books about Troy so good to hear you liked it :)

  7. Carole
    I read one too eons ago, I still remember it

    It is worth a go

  8. Sounds so dark. Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Jen
    Dark in subject, not in tone



Copyright © 2008-2020 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP